Sunteți pe pagina 1din 11

1

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire


"Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain, and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes" - Reflexions of Ibn Shacabao A miracle does not happen in contradiction to nature, but in contradiction to what is known to us of nature - Saint Augustine be bland or routine. A new spell should come as the reward for some outstanding deed or after great perseverance only. Learning a spell from a supernatural entity may even require the sacrifice of an eye, an arm, or some other disablement. Choose the new spell carefully! The keeper must realize that pursuing arcane powers eventually leads investigators to madness, exclusion and premature doom. At the end of the day, it is up to the keeper to decide whether investigators have access to supernatural powers, and at what cost. An interesting way to temper powercraving players not deterred by the sanity hazards of spell casting, is to improvise malicious side effects. Side effects may be passing, or on the contrary develop into full-blown subplots. Here are a few random examples: 1) the caster is plagued by a disturbing disease, a malformation, ageing, nightmares or hallucinations; 2) the magic liberates an unseen creature that stalks the caster and/or perpetrates abject crimes in his neighbourhood (e.g. innocent people are mysteriously slaughtered or vanish forever); 3) the caster's perceived reality undergoes an alienating change (e.g. people don't know him anymore, a recently visited place seems to have vanished from the surface of the earth).

Non-Mythos magic
Not all magic originates from the Cthulhu Mythos (such as Call/Dismiss, Summon/Bind or Contact Mythos Deity spells, spells imparted by Mythos creatures and deities, or named after them, etc.). Other earthly magic or religiosity exists and is represented in Cthulhu dark Ages by the Old Grimoire of spells. The Old Grimoire is the product of centuries of shamanic tradition, religious cults and witchcraft. Mechanics and procedures for non-Mythos magic are the same as those for Mythos magic, and both representations of the world do overlap to some extent. For instance many spells of the Old Grimoire relate to Limbo, a primitive human rationalization of Yog-Sothoths abode between the spheres. Conversely, many Mythos creatures and deities possess supernatural powers corresponding to Old Grimoire spells (see Bestiary).

The priest, the witch, and the healer


The first two entries below are accessible occupations for new investigators, see the Game System chapter. The last two entries are the province of the keeper, not the players: Healers had a fixed role in rural society. They perpetuated the belief in spirits and ancestors, and often revered some form of fertility goddess (e.g. Shub-Niggurath). Hermits and exorcist priests sometimes performed Old Grimoire magic, alas under a religious guise. Or antireligious, as far as heretics are concerned! Magi were secret practitioners of the eight discipline after the Quadrivium and the Trivium, under the elusive patronage of some magician king (Yog-Sothoths avatar Tawil atUmr, see Bestiary). Witches and sorcerers were cultists worshipping the Black Man (probably one form of Nyarlathotep).

The Occult Skill


The Occult skill is to non-mythos magic and spirits, what the Cthulhu Mythos skill is to Mythos magic and monsters. Any evidence of Old Grimoire spell casting and ingredients calls for an Occult roll. Succeeding, the investigator is able to recognize the signs of occult intervention for what they are (e.g. odd spell components, pale nimbuses, the rushing of winds, howling and hissing animals, murmuring voices, etc.). The Occult skill also helps identifying spirits (see Bestiary) and major occult texts, and provides knowledge of astrology and (Arabian) alchemy concepts.

Magus, Magi
In the Dark Ages there remained very few practitioners of the Old magic. Church had fought pagan rituals and beliefs for centuries, and it was slowly winning the battle. Magi, witches and healers of the Dark Ages led a precarious life on the fringes of society: although they were not yet openly hunted down, they were often feared and ostracized. Magi for instance constituted an outcast elite, cast-off precisely because of their knowledge of the occult history of the world, their magic, and their familiarity with the True Names of spirits and Limbo.

Learning a Spell from another Person


Spells of the Old Grimoire depend mostly on non-written tradition. To learn a spell, the novice must be taught by another person or an entity knowing the spell. A person knowing a spell can teach it to another by dedicating large blocks of individual time to the purpose. Each week, roll the novices INT x3 or less on D100 to learn the spell. Such apprenticeship customarily requires the novice to first endure a trying initiation ritual, some simulacra of his or her own death. The ritual typically involves being baptized in water/soil/the blood of an offered victim, and having to spend the night in a hidden chamber/a tomb/a hole in the ground/a forest clearing, there to meet with ones private demons.

The Keepers Dilemma


Isolating the investigators with magic and then introducing greater power to overcome is a sad and pointless conclusion: acquiring magical or holy powers should never

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire

Learning a Spell from a Spirit


A spirit possessing the novice or captured by him can magically imbue a spell in the novices mind by means of a vision or a dream. This method is alienating and subjects the target to a Sanity roll for seeing or perceiving the entity inside of him (use the particular entitys Sanity loss statistics). The novice must receive a successful Idea roll to retain knowledge of the spell.

Casting Spells
Old Grimoire spells adhere to the following format:

BLESS (SKILL CLASS)1


Range2: earshot Duration3: 1 day 4 Cost : 1 magic point for every 5% added to skills Sanity5: 1 Resistance Table6: yes Bless temporarily increases the target's chance to apply skills of the specified skill class...7 Bless has a permanent variant with a cost of 1 POW point for every 5% increase...8 Item explanations are found below: 1. Each spell is given here a generic name that distinguishes it from other spells. The listed spell name is intentionally generic. Avoid using it during play. Instead call the spell something appropriately imprecise, poetic, or circumstantial. Some spells include a discretionary specification in brackets. Specialize the spell to affect a particular species, substance or characteristic. Creature: specific animals, fabulous creatures, spirits, etc. Skill class: physical movement, communication, thought, manipulation, and perception. Characteristic: strength, constitution, intelligence, power, dexterity, and appearance. NOT SIZE AND EDUCATION! Spirit: ghosts, nature spirits, Limbo creatures, etc. Substance: magical, invisible or evil effluvium (e.g. poison, enemy), natural substance, etc. The specialty of the spell must be specified when the spell is learned, with the assent of the keeper. For instance, Find Gate is a different spell from Find Gold, but both spells work the same way. Knowing one of these spells is of no use whatsoever in attempting to cast any of the others. 2. Spells come in four ranges: touch, earshot, sight or infinite. The target or target area of a spell must be within range for the spell to take effect. 3. The magic point cost of a spell holds for the listed duration. Standard durations are instant, 1 round, 1 day and permanent. If applicable, doubling the basic cost doubles the duration, tripling the cost triples duration, etc. Magic points are spent before the spell is cast and takes effect or not. 4. All spells take time to cast - a single round by default and they all require magic points or POW to be expended. Spells take effect at the end of the casting period after all required magic points or POW have been sacrificed. The cost of some spells can be scaled up for greater effect. If the caster is distracted while casting (by an upsetting

event, a loud noise, a blow, etc.), he must make an Idea roll to maintain his casting. Failing, both the spell effects and the magic points or POW spent are wasted. 5. Successfully liberating magical forces usually costs Sanity points, in amounts varying from spell to spell. Note that the horrific outcome of many spells (think of Wither Limb for instance) may cost yet more Sanity points to the caster, to the spells target, or to witnesses. 6. Targeted spells compare the casters and an unwilling targets current magic points on the Resistance Table to learn whether the spell attack succeeds (no match needed if the target volunteers). Failing, both the spell effects and the magic points spent are wasted. Note that if the target is the spell caster himself no roll is needed. 7. Like the spell name, the spell description is intentionally generic. Each spell should be appropriately crafted for the circumstance. The keeper and the player may come up with intriguing modifications or add specific details. The physical components of a spell, how they are acquired or prepared, is left almost entirely to the keeper. Here follows a list of usual components: Organic: ashes, blood, bones, corpse, flowers, flesh, herbs, intestines, liquids, small animal, etc. Mineral: gold dust, mercury granules, powder, rocks, saltpeter, salt water, sulfur, etc. Crafted: brazier, bronze disk, copper bowl, leaden seal, monolith, painted or drawn lines, pipes, small figurine, stone arrangements, wooden boxes, etc. The evidence of the casting of a spell is up to the keeper. As the keeper wishes, spell castings might include pale nimbuses, the rushing of winds, howling and hissing animals, murmuring voices, alarming moans, and so on. 8. Many temporary spells have a permanent variant requiring the expenditure of POW instead of magic points, and vice versa. Each variant should be considered a different spell, and must be learned separately.

Ritual magic
Routinely spells are cast by a single caster in a single round. If a caster wants to cast a spell, the magic point cost of which exceeds his resources, then he must spend additional hours in casting. He may also join forces with other casters who know the spell. In both cases we speak of ritual magic. Humans naturally regenerate magic points at the rate of one-fourth of user POW every 6 hours. Therefore, every additional 6 hours spent in casting effectively increases the casters magic points - not POW! - by one-fourth of user POW. For example, a POW 12 witch naturally recovers 3 magic points every 6 hours: she can cast a 15-point spell in 6 hours by spending all her magic points (12 + 3 = 15 temporary magic points). The additional magic points only exist for the spell being cast, and cannot be rerouted to anything else. Note that temporary magic points are of no use for spells that demand POW expenditure; the only way to cast a spell with a higher POW cost than the caster can sacrifice, is to share power with others. A group or crowd of people can help power spells. The caster acts as the focus for the group. Anyone else in the group knowing the spell may also expend as many magic points or POW as desired. The remainder of the group can

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

aid a ritual casting by circling up around the casters, chanting, holding candles, burning incense, etc. Such a circle may prevent interruptions. Each caster is subject to a separate Sanity roll, and may incur the full Sanity point loss attached to casting the spell. Because lengthy rituals are likely to be interrupted, it is wise to perform them in a place of relative calm, like a remote clearing in the woods.

Perceptions
Augur Blindness Cloud Memory Deafness Demon's Ear Demon's Eye Enthrall Find (Substance) Fury Soul Singing

Magical artifacts
Magical artifacts are items in which one or more spells are embedded by an Enchant spell. Usage of a magical artifact conforms to standard spell casting procedures and conditions. In particular, the wielder of the item must spend magic points or POW, and Sanity in order to activate a spell. The Seal spell can be used to create freakish magical artifacts that contain imprisoned spirits. Such artifacts are de facto possessed, having INT, POW and a will of their own. To use the magical powers of captive spirits, the wielder must bargain with them. There is no guarantee that bound spirits would rather bargain than harm the caster, or that they might not have some other alien scheme in mind.

Shapeshift
Become spectral Body Warping

Summonings/bindings
Bind (Creature) Contact (Creature) Disembodiment Disembodiment (Limbo variant) Dismiss (Spirit) Enchant Gray Binding

The Old Grimoire


The Old Grimoire spells included in Cthulhu Dark Ages are not meant to be exhaustive. Many are (non-Mythos) variants of spells of the Call of Cthulhu Grimoire. The keeper is free to add more non-Mythos spells to the list or to create new spells as seems fitting.

Wardings
Seal Shield

Characteristics/skills
Bless (Characteristic) Bless (Skill Class) Curse (Characteristic) Curse (Skill Class)

The Spells
AUGUR
Range: infinite Duration: instant Cost: 4 magic points Sanity: 1D2 Resistance Table: no This spell - or rather, the keeper - grants portents of the future if the caster is clever enough to understand them. Media varies, from animal entrails to the casting of stalks. A portent may come as a misty vision, an otherworldly murmur, an overpowering emotion, or a sudden conviction. The keeper should prepare the portent with great care. Revealing too much can easily rob players of their sense of free will and limits the keepers freedom of action. Conversely, revealing too little is pointless and frustrating. A well-balanced portent however, will add meaningful thrills and chills to the game when the keeper stages events that the players think they can correlate with the portent. Many magi believe an augur is delivered by messengers from an other world outside time.

Elements
Levitate Mist Moonlight Winds of Desolation

Gates
Create Gate Create Limbo Gate Create Time Warp Scrying Window

Hits points/magic points/sanity


Exaltation Fear Flesh Ward Heal Poison Blood Power Drain Power Source Shriveling

BECOME SPECTRAL
Range: touch Duration: permanent Cost: 2 POW Sanity: 3D6 Resistance Table: yes This spell can hide one target from mundane observers by shifting its body into Limbo. The target's senses remain

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire

attuned to our material plane but everything is perceived as if a cold mist surrounded the target. The spectral target can move normally. Unknown to most, becoming spectral has an inherent danger: Limbo creatures can feel a spectral body as soon as it moves, and spiritually or magically attack it. Become Spectral has a temporary variant which lasts 1 round for every magic point spent.

BODY WARPING
Range: touch Duration: permanent Cost: 1 POW, 6 magic points, and 1 magic point for every 1 SIZ gained or lost in the shift Sanity: 2D6 Resistance Table: yes Body Warping changes the targets physical form. Only one alteration per casting is possible, and the effect is permanent until the spell is re-cast to change back again. The target can change to any shape and appearance, though retaining personal abilities. The form must be fleshly, though it can appear to be of stone, wood, a rug, etc. Once changed into a new shape, the target has bodily attributes of that shape (mobility, sensory, etc.). The target's STR, CON, INT, POW, and DEX never change. If emulating a person, the targets APP becomes that of the individual emulated. The target can take on only the form of what the caster knows, and thus this spell is accurate only that far. A malicious keeper may rule that Body Warping is never accurate and that for instance a target cannot quite recover his original form, resulting in changed appearance, health problems, minor deformities, etc.

BIND (CREATURE)
Range: earshot Duration: until order is fulfilled

Cost: 1 magic point Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: yes Causes one creature of the specified kind to obey a single command. Bound, the target must obey one order by the caster, even to attacking its own kind, after which it is freed. The caster's order must be specific and limited in duration: protect me from harm forever would not be a valid command, but slay that sorcerer would be. Orders might include carrying someone somewhere, presiding at some ceremony, or going to a specific location to appear as a warning - whatever can be imagined. As a rule of thumb, the command to a bound monster should not have more words to it than the thing has INT. To make life simple, postulate that the thing bound is always able to understand the gist of a command.

CLOUD MEMORY
Range: earshot Duration: permanent Cost: 1D6 magic points Sanity: 1D2 Resistance Table: yes Cloud memory blocks the target's ability to consciously remember a particular event. If the caster's magic points overcome the target on the Resistance Table, the target's mind is mentally blocked with respect to one specified incident. If the incident was terrifying, the victim may thereafter still have nightmares vaguely relating to it. If the spell fails, the event in question becomes more vivid in the target's mind. The caster must know the specific event to be blocked - the caster cannot command something vague like "Forget what you did yesterday." Instead, he must instance a certain event, such as "Forget you were assaulted by a monster." This spell cannot undo a Sanity loss, or temporary or indefinite insanity.

BLESS (CHARACTERISTIC)
Range: earshot Duration: permanent Cost: as many POW as characteristic points added Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes With a success, the target gains 1D3 points in the specified characteristic. A good example is Regrow Limb (Bless CON) which re-grows a severed or mangled limb. Bless spells have temporary variants with a cost in magic points instead of POW. The spell effects last one day. Another variant of the Bless spell, known to some Limbo entities (see Bestiary), has cost expressed in the characteristic points rather than POW.

BLESS (SKILL CLASS)


Range: earshot Duration: 1 day Cost: 1 magic point for every 5% added to skills Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Bless temporarily increases the target's chance to apply skills of the specified skill class. Bless has a permanent variant with a cost of 1 POW point for every 5% increase.

CONTACT (CREATURE)
Range: infinite Duration: until creature appears Cost: 1 magic point for every magic point of the creature Sanity: 1D3 Resistance Table: no Brings forth a specific creature. The contactee may not appear for an hour or a day or more - the caster does not know when, and must wait. Those entities living nearby walk, swim, or fly to the place where the spell was cast. Things from other dimensions form or enter in any characteristic manner. The spell brings random representatives, presumably with their own motives. A specific individual can be contacted, if the caster knows its True Name (see Bestiary). Once the contactee appears, it is free to depart. The keeper may cause several creatures to appear, as long as the sum of their magic points is less than those spent by the caster.

BLINDNESS
Range: sight Duration: 1D6 rounds Cost: 3 magic points Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Blindness makes a single target temporarily sightless. The experience costs the target 0/1D4 Sanity points. Blindness has a permanent variant costing 3 POW.

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

There is no guarantee that a contacted entity would rather bargain than devour the caster, or that it might not have some other alien scheme in mind.

Create Limbo Gate has a temporary variant that vanishes after one passage. This variant only requires magic point expenditure instead of POW.

CREATE GATE
Range: sight Duration: permanent Cost: as many POW as the log-to-base-10 of the distance in miles Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: no Each Gate connects to a single other location. A Gate may take many forms, common ones being indicated by a pattern of painted lines on a floor or a peculiar arrangement of stones in a field. Using the Gate costs that number of magic points equal to the POW originally used to make the Gate. Each trip through a Gate costs 1 Sanity point. Lacking enough magic points for the trip, the keeper might rule that the traveler is lost in Limbo, unconscious and drained of magic points. Gates allow returns at the same cost. The far end of the Gate should resemble the initial end of the Gate. Ordinarily, anyone or anything can move through a Gate, though some have been built so that a certain word or gesture was needed to activate the portal. Some magi believe that spirits can squeeze through the two ends of a Gate and intrude into our world. Create Gate has a temporary variant that vanishes after one passage. This variant only requires magic point expenditure instead of POW. Cost (POW/magic points) Distance (miles) 1 not to exceed 1 2 10 3 100 4 1000 5 10.000 and so on: add another point, add another zero. Note that Dark Ages scholars believed that the Worlds size did not exceed several thousand miles. Anything beyond that was thought to belong to transcendental Spheres.

CREATE TIME WARP


Range: sight Duration: permanent Cost: as many POW as the log-to-base-10 of the distance in years Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: no Each time gate connects to a single other moment in the future or in the past. A Gate may take many forms, common ones being indicated by a pattern of painted lines on a floor or a peculiar arrangement of stones in a field. Using the Gate costs that number of magic points equal to the POW originally used to make the Gate. Each trip through a Gate costs 1 Sanity point. Lacking enough magic points for the trip, the keeper might rule that the traveler is lost in Limbo, unconscious and drained of magic points. Gates allow returns at the same cost. The far end of the Gate should resemble the initial end of the Gate. Ordinarily, anyone or anything can move through a Gate, though some have been built so that a certain word or gesture was needed to activate the portal. It is believed that spirits can squeeze through the two ends of a Gate and intrude into our world. Create Time Warp has a temporary variant that vanishes after one passage. The temporary variant only requires magic point expenditure. Cost (POW/magic points) Distance (years) 1 not to exceed 1 2 10 3 100 4 1000 5 10.000 and so on: add another point, add another zero. Note that Dark Ages scholars believed that the time span of History did not exceed several thousand years. Anything beyond that was thought to belong to transcendental Ages.

CREATE LIMBO GATE


Range: sight Duration: permanent Cost: 3 POW Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: no A Limbo Gate does not lead to an exit Gate, but instead to Limbo (see Limbo section). Entering this dimension costs 0/1D4 Sanity points. Visible as far as the traveler cares to go are glowing geometric diagrams suspended at various angles. These things can be entered - they are the Gates leading out of Limbo, and each costs another 3 magic points to use. The keeper may choose to where and to when each leads. Limbo is coterminous with many times and spaces, and inhabited by ghastly things. Explorers who do not know the pathways through the various dimensions can easily become lost. Limbo Gates have an inherent danger: they work both ways. Ghastly Limbo creatures may find out about the Gate's existence, and step through.

CURSE (CHARACTERISTIC)
Range: earshot Duration: permanent Cost: 1D3 POW if failing to overcome target Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes If the caster wins the magic point match, then the target loses 1D3 characteristic points, and the caster gains as many POW. If the caster fails to overcome the target, the caster loses 1D3 POW. Examples are Steal Life (Curse POW) which causes the target to age and decay, Wither Limb (Curse CON) which causes body parts to wither and shrivel, and Brainwash (Curse INT) which dissolves intelligence. The target of such spells loses 0/1D3 Sanity Points. Curse POW can also undo permanent magic (e.g. another Curse, a Gate, etc.). If the caster succeeds in overcoming the POW of the target spell, he or she drains 1D3 POW from the spell, thereby weakening its effects. Curse spells have temporary variants with a cost in magic points instead of POW. The spell effects last one day.

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire

Another variant of the Curse spell known to some Limbo entities (see Bestiary) has cost and/or gain expressed in the characteristic points rather than POW.

DISMISS (SPIRIT)
Range: earshot Duration: instant Cost: as many magic points as requested Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: yes Causes a disembodied spirit to return whence it came, presumably Limbo. Match the magic points spent on the Dismiss with those of the target on the Resistance Table. This yields the chance that dismissal succeeds.

CURSE (SKILL CLASS)


Range: earshot Duration: 1 day Cost: 1 magic point for every 5% subtracted from skills Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Curse temporarily decreases the targets chance to apply skills of the specified skill class. Curse has a permanent variant with a cost of 1 POW point for every 5% skill decrease.

ENCHANT
Range: touch Duration: permanent Cost: 1 POW Sanity: 1D4 Resistance Table: yes Enchants a device or artifact with one spell known to the caster. The target is then considered magical. Each Enchant involves a blood sacrifice and at least a day of preparation. Usage of a magical artifact conforms to standard spell casting procedures and conditions. In particular, the wielder of the item must spend magic points or POW, and Sanity in order to activate a spell.

DEAFNESS
Range: sight Duration: 1D6 rounds Cost: 3 magic points Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Deafness makes a single target temporarily deaf. The experience costs the target 0/1D4 Sanity points. Deafness has a permanent variant costing 3 POW.

DEMONS EAR
Range: sight Duration: 1D6 rounds Cost: 3 magic points Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Demon's Ear allows the target to hear everything twice as close as it is. Multiple castings of Demon's Ear allows speakers to whisper to each other across a visible distance. Demons Ear has a permanent variant costing 3 POW.

ENTHRALL
Range: touch Duration: disturbed until trance

DEMONS EYE
Range: sight Duration: 1D6 rounds Cost: 3 magic points Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: yes Demon's Eye allows the target to see everything twice as close as it is. Demons Eye has a permanent variant costing 3 POW.

Cost: 2 magic points Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes Enthrall causes the target to stop anything it was doing. An enthralled target may not attack for the duration of the spell. An enthralled target is incapacitated until retrieved from the trance by direct physical damage or a similarly drastic event.

EXALTATION
Range: earshot Duration: instant Cost: 12 magic points for every 1D6 Sanity increase Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes Exaltation floods the target with a soul-lifting well being. The feeling of well being grants the target extra Sanity points. The spell may be cast on a sleeping target, causing him or her to experience a wonderful dream. Exaltation lasts 24 hours or until the imparted Sanity points are used up. Each casting of Exaltation can undo one temporary or one indefinite insanity.

DISEMBODIMENT
Range: touch Duration: 1D6+3 hours Cost: 15 magic points Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: yes Disembodiment tears the targets soul out of its material envelope. While disembodied, the targets body remains asleep. Unknown Sanity losses will come from the particular experiences. Note that a disembodied spirit can initiate spirit attacks. This spell can also be cast on a possessed subject, in order to expel one demon. However, nothing except maybe a Dismiss spell - can prevent the freed demon from spiritually attacking the victim again or the caster! Disembodiment has a Limbo variant that sends the target's soul into Limbo for the duration of the spell.

FEAR
Range: earshot Duration: instant Cost: 12 magic points for every 0/1D6 Sanity loss Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes Fear grips the target with a soul-chilling dread. The sudden unexpected feeling of dread costs the target Sanity points and causes him or her to stop work or concentration. The spell may be cast on a sleeping target, causing him or her to experience a horrible nightmare at the keepers discretion.

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

FIND (SUBSTANCE)
Range: sight Duration: 1 round Cost: 1 magic point Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: no Find has the ability to make unseen things visible to the caster, as in Find Magical Things, Find Invisible Things (e.g. Voorish Sign, Powder of Ibn-Ghazi) or Find Gold. Seeing what Find exposes may cost extra Sanity points.

spell must be re-applied each week to have effect for that week. Each casting of Heal can cure one disease or one poisoning.

LEVITATE
Range: sight Duration: 1D6 minutes Cost: 1 magic point for every 1 SIZ levitated Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes Levitate causes the caster or a chosen target to float slowly through the air. The spell levitates the target 3-5 feet off the ground or floor. If falling from a height, the target falls in slow motion and halts several feet off the ground. Each extra magic point expended after the spell is cast allows the user to move him or the target one-yard horizontally or vertically. The target floats as the caster wills, helpless to stop moving except by grabbing a tree limb or similar brace: in that case match target STR against the caster's magic points. If the target wins, the spell is broken - and the target falls, of course.

FLESH WARD
Range: touch Duration: instant Cost: 1 magic point for every hit point added Sanity: Cost Resistance Table: yes The spell increases the hit points of the target. The specific description of the spells effect is up to the keeper. Flesh Ward lasts 24 hours or until the imparted hit points are used up.

FURY
Range: touch Duration: until opponent killed

Cost: 2 magic points Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: yes Fury causes the caster or his target to fight unceasingly for the spell duration. The target always chooses whom to attack, but may have to attack a friend if all foes have been slain. The spell increases by one the number of attacks that the maddened target can make in each round. The berserk ignores unconsciousness stemming from a major wound. A fatal wound is still fatal, but he or she attacks until the end of the round of death, striking blows while technically dead. A furious target may not actively defend (dodge or parry) for the duration of the spell. Sorcerers sometimes know this spell as the curse of the Wolf.

MOONLIGHT
Range: sight Duration: 10 minutes Cost: 1 magic point for every 3x3x3 cubic yards Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: no Causes a silvery full-moon-like light to illuminate the target area. Moonlight dissipates darkness, shadows and mist for 10 minutes (even the spectral mist invoked by the Mist spell). Moonlight can also reveal the outline of invisible Limbo creatures to the trained eye (Occult roll required).

MIST
Range: sight Duration: 10 minutes Cost: 1 magic point for every 3x3x3 cubic yards Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: no Causes a shadowy mist to appear directly in front of the caster. Mist can douse small lights such as candles and only the strongest light penetrates it at all. Within the mist sight is impossible, the senses of touch and hearing are benumbed, and the freezing air blunts the sense of smell. After 10 minutes, the mist evaporates without trace. It is believed that the mist flows directly out of Limbo, and sometimes hides ghastly things (see Nameless Mist, Bestiary).

GRAY BINDING
Range: touch Duration: decays until undead

Cost: 8 magic points Sanity: 1D6 Resistance Table: no A way to form an uncontrolled vampire. A ritual liquid must be poured over a corpse. The corpse is left to mature. At the end of one week, the caster intones the binding, after which the corpse rouses. The keeper determines the ingredients of the liquid: at least one part should be difficult to obtain. The corpse is nearly mindless, and has free will. It is not under the control of its creator. The thing continues to rot after its creation, and so eventually decays into incapacity. The risen corpse is otherwise identical to the Bestiarys vampire.

POISON BLOOD
Range: touch Duration: variable Cost: 2 magic point for every day of poisoning Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: yes Poison Blood exposes the target to an infectious poison. Count two weeks of preparation. Disease rules apply if the Resistance roll is failed. Symptoms start after a 12-hour incubation period, and cost the target 1D3 hit points per day. The description of the spell is left to the keeper, but could resemble the actual symptoms of blood poisoning: fevers, chills, feeling of doom, rash, gangrene, etc.

HEAL
Range: touch Duration: 1 week Cost: 3 magic points Sanity: 0 Resistance Table: yes Heal maximizes the healing rate: natural is three hit points per week, and with Medicine six hit points per week. The

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire

POWER DRAIN
Range: touch Duration: instant Cost: 1D6 magic points if failing to overcome target Sanity: 1D8 Resistance Table: yes Drains magic points from the target. If the caster wins the magic point match, then the target loses 1D6 magic points, and the caster gains them. If the caster fails to overcome the target, the caster loses 1D6 magic points. The specific description of the spells effect is up to the keeper. Power Drain can also undo temporary magic. If the caster succeeds in overcoming the magic points of the target spell, he or she drains 1D6 magic points from the spell, thereby weakening its effects.

POWER SOURCE
Range: touch Duration: instant Cost: as many magic points as granted Sanity: 1D8 Resistance Table: yes Grants magic points to the target. If the caster wins the magic point match, then the target gains 1D6 magic points, and the caster loses as many. The specific description of the spells effect is up to the keeper. Power Shift can also reinforce temporary magic. If the caster succeeds in overcoming the magic points of the target spell, he or she grants 1D6 magic points to the spell, thereby strengthening its effects. Power Shift lasts 24 hours or until the imparted magic points are used up.

a successful magic point match on the Resistance Table (multiple beings cannot combine magic points to attempt passage). The magic points in the warding also resist all spells cast to take effect on the other side, to the exception of summonings in general. Match magic points on the Resistance Table. Any penetration destroys the Seal. The warded area may take many forms, common ones being indicated by a pattern of painted lines on a floor or a peculiar arrangement of stones in a field. The Seals shape and size are left to the appreciation of the keeper. The Seal may also be cast on the surface of an object (e.g. to create a magical artifact entrapping a spirit). The Seal can be used to create freakish magical artifacts that contain imprisoned spirits. Such artifacts are de facto possessed, having INT, POW and a will of their own. To use the magical powers of captive spirits, the wielder must bargain with them. There is no guarantee that bound spirits would rather bargain than harm the caster, or that they might not have some other alien scheme in mind.

SHIELD
Range: sight Duration: until Shield is ruined Cost: 1 magic point for every point of physical armor Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: no Creates a Shield around a given area that blocks physical movement and attacks both ways. A material being can cross the Shield by beating it down with a successful STR versus magic point match on the Resistance Table (multiple beings cannot combine STR to attempt passage). The magic points in the warding also resist damage aimed at targets on the other side of the Shield. Match damage versus magic points on the Resistance Table. Any penetration ruins the Shield. The warded area may take many forms, common ones being indicated by a pattern of painted lines on a floor or a peculiar arrangement of stones in a field. The Shields shape and size are left to the appreciation of the keeper. The Shield may also be cast on the surface of an object (e.g. to make it stronger).

SCRYING WINDOW
Range: sight Duration: 1 round Cost: as many magic points as the log-to-base-10 of the distance in years Sanity: 1D3 Resistance Table: no Makes a magic window that looks into the past. When the spell is cast, it must be keyed to a specific time in the past relative to the date of casting. As a key, one could say, "800 years past," but not "1125 BC" The spell shows the site at which it is cast (though at the appropriate time in the past). The spell has an obvious limitation: a given scene can be viewed once, for time passes on both sides of the window, and the spell must be tuned to a spot where things actually happen. The Scrying Window has an inherent danger: any being viewed rolling POW-20 or less on D100 realizes that it is being observed. It could then cast a spell through the window, including a spell that could manifest a monster on the observers side. Worse still, Hounds of Tindalos may spot the intruder.

SHRIVELING
Range: touch Duration: instant Cost: 1 magic point for every hit point subtracted Sanity: Cost Resistance Table: yes The spell injures the target. The specific description of the spells effect is up to the keeper. Variants of this spell may burn, crush, blast, weaken, scar, and so forth.

SOUL SINGING
Range: earshot Duration: 1 round Cost: 8 magic points Sanity: 1D4 Resistance Table: yes Soul Singing causes the target to see and hear only what the caster desires. Soul Singing is aimed at a single victim who, seeing what the caster wishes him to, is led on entranced to the doom or destruction desired.

SEAL
Range: sight Duration: until Seal is destroyed Cost: 1 magic point for every point of spiritual armor Sanity: 1 Resistance Table: no Creates a protection around a given area that blocks spirits (disembodied or not), spiritual attacks, and most spells. A conscious entity can cross the Seal by beating it down with

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

WINDS OF DESOLATION
Range: sight Duration: 10 rounds Cost: 10 magic points for every point of the wind force (see table) Sanity: 1D8 Resistance Table: no Causes winds to blow. Cast at sea this spell causes waves to smash down at the caster's direction. Winds also allow fires (e.g. forest fire) to blaze at the caster's direction. Needless to say, people swallowed up by powerful waves or caught into a large firestorm vanish forever. To evaluate the spells cost, consider the difference between the desired wind force and that of the wind at the moment of casting. For instance, only 60 points are needed to obtain a storm when a breeze is already blowing. It is believed that the Winds of Desolation blow from Limbo, often carrying raging spirits with them.
Force Light air - gentle breeze (1-3) Moderate - strong breeze (4-6) Near - strong gale (7-9) Storm - hurricane (10-12) On land Leaves rustle Raises dust, branches in motion Trees sway, structural damage Trees uprooted, widespread damage At sea Wavelets Waves, white horses High waves, foam streaks White sea tumbles

but only such shifting hints of form and position as his whirling fancy supplied. Limbo creatures - spirits are bodiless and only have INT and POW characteristics. See the Bestiary for more details. Every being generates an aura roughly proportional to POW, the force of personality, which can be perceived with a successful Occult roll as a vague shadow, a misty form, a shape of darkness, waves, etc. Perceiving Limbo creatures through this sixth sense, causes the Sanity Loss listed in the creature entries.

The Ultimate Abyss


From Limbo, the Ultimate Gate - guarded by the Ancient Ones and Tawil atUmr, avatar of Yog-Sothoth - leads to the Ultimate Abyss, the Last Void outside all worlds. The Ultimate Abyss is hell in the strict sense of the word: YogSothoths hole or hidden place. The Necronomicon tells that the Abyss is haunted by the Old Ones, Shamblers, and the Tomb-herds, and that there are six hundred forty Gates at which they wait to feast upon the souls of the dead. Note that one of these Gates probably leads to the Dreamlands. The keeper is advised to read Lovecrafts tale Through the Gates of the Silver Key for more context.

The best winds for sailing are breezes. Gales will knock down average humans. Storms are a great menace to ships and boats: bad ship handling will make the vessel capsize immediately.

Sanity Loss
Entering Limbo or the Nameless Mist costs 0/1D4 Sanity points. Entering the Ultimate Abyss, to learn that Illusion is the One reality, and that Substance is the Great Impostor, and to have ones self annihilated into a legion of selves, costs 1D10/1D100 Sanity points.

Limbo
It was needful to sail over the Ocean that goes round the lands, to leave the sun and stars behind, to journey down into chaos, and at last pass into a land where no light was and where darkness reigned eternally. - Book VIII of Saxos history. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly grounded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place - Book of Enoch, 17:12. Limbo (literally meaning border or prison) represents the interstices between the spheres that compose the universe. Limbo has many names, depending on each system of belief; here are some relevant ones: (the first circle of) Hell, Hades, the primordial Chaos or Void, Sheol, Nilfheim, etc. Limbo is an extension outside time of our material world, and borders many times and places of our world. The Nameless Mist permeates Limbo, making it the land of gloom and chaos, where light is like darkness, Job 10:22. It is a living yet mindless entity that may have originally spawned Yog-Sothoth. Gates leading out of Limbo appear as glowing geometric shapes, suspended at weird angles. The keeper may choose to where and to when each leads.

Spirit Attacks and Possession


Most disembodied spirits naturally possess spirit attacks such as the Power Drain spell or one of the Curse variants (in our material plane the spirit may be glimpsed as clawing at, enveloping, or physically attacking the target). These attacks typically leach magic points or POW from both the attacking spirit and its target. If a spirit loses all its magic points it dissolves within one round and cannot reform for a day. If a spirit loses all POW it is dispelled forever. If a human loses all its magic points he or she falls unconscious until at least one magic point regenerates. If a human loses all POW he or she either dies or is a vegetable until POW can be raised again, at the keepers discretion. In the last two cases the attacking spirit may possess the target: a possessing spirit can overpower the identity of the victim at will, and then use the body as its own (replace INT and POW of the victim by the spirits own). A possessing spirit can only be dislodged by magic attacks (Drain Power, Curse INT or POW, Disembodiment, Dismiss). The possessed may be forced to perform befitting deeds, like providing information, casting spells, attack innocent people, etc., until the possessing spirit releases its spiritual hold.

The Sixth Sense


Ordinary senses are useless in Limbo, and position, duration and motion have no meaning, although successful Occult rolls can provide a misty sense of form and relationships. As Lovecraft wrote in Through the Gates of the Silver Key, [Carter] had no stable form or position,

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

Stphane Gesbert

The Old Grimoire

10

Whats in a magic point?


Loss of magic points may leave minor emotional sensations (e.g. sadness, numbness, and anxiety). The inventive keeper may also want to associate loss of POW with nightmarish hallucinations or visions appropriate to the situation, leaving the target disoriented, nervous, terrified, or gray-haired.

Books of the Mythos and more


Below are listed a few tomes of arcane lore that were contemporary to the Dark Ages. Obviously, many more circulated that are unlisted here. Manuscripts were usually found in the libraries of abbeys, where they were translated and copied by punctilious and often unwary monks. TUPSIMATI in a dead language, author and trans. unknown. Tables of destiny in Mesopotamian myth, said to belong to the Babylonian Serpent Tiamat, alias Great Cthulhu. The tables are allegedly older than Earth, and of formidable power. Two almost inaccessible copies are said to exist on earth. It is rumored that the Tables sometimes known as the Elder Keys - constitute the single most important source for many later Mythos texts. Sanity loss 1D10/1D20; Cthulhu Mythos +20 %; 75 weeks to study. AL AZIF - in Arabic, by Abd al-Azrad, c. 730 AD. Original form unknown but numerous manuscript versions circulated among scholars. Immense compendium on nearly every aspect of the Mythos. Sanity loss 1D10/1D20; Cthulhu Mythos +18 %; 68 weeks to study. NECRONOMICON - in Greek, trans. of the Al Azif by Theodorus Philetas, c. 950 AD. Hand-written copies circulated until 1050, when the Patriarch Michael of Constantinople condemned the blasphemous tome. Many copies were confiscated and burned. Sanity loss 1D10/1D20; Cthulhu Mythos +17 %; 68 weeks to study. PNAKOTICA - in Greek, author and trans. unknown. Disparate collection of pre-human stories, myths and legends. Papyrus version. Sanity loss 1D10/1D20; Cthulhu Mythos +17 %; 60 weeks to study. CTHAAT AQUADINGEN - in Latin, author unknown, c. 11th century AD. Extremely rare study of the Deep Ones. Bound in human skin. Sanity loss 1D8/2D8; Cthulhu Mythos +13 %; 46 weeks to study. THE THREE CODICES - in Latin, authors and trans. unknown, c. 400 AD. Three books (Leprous book, Codex Maleficium, and Codex Dagonensis) similar in content to Cthaat Aquadingen. Each volume contains at least one set of summonings and wardings of the Sathlattae series. Use the Cthaat Aquadingen statistics. LIBER IVONIS - in Latin, trans. Caius Phillipus Faber, 9th century AD. Presumed original author: Eibon, wizard of Hyperborea. Bound manuscript versions. Sanity loss 1D4/2D4; Cthulhu Mythos +13 %; 36 weeks to study BLACK RITES in Greek, by Egyptian high priest Luveh-Keraphf, trans. unknown. Rare Greek translation of secret scrolls concerning Bast and other Egyptian gods. Contains a cautionary note on Nyarlathotep and the Dark Pharaoh. Sanity loss 1D6/2D6; Cthulhu Mythos +11 %; 41 weeks to study. RASUL AL-ALBARIN in Arabic, by Ibn el-Badawi, c. 900 AD. Book dealing with the Great Old Ones and the

being Huitloxopetl. Sanity loss 1D6/2D6; Cthulhu Mythos +11 %;, 36 weeks to study. SAPIENTIA MAGLORUM In Latin and Greek, by the Persian fire-mage Ostanes. Rare volume containing rituals to raise Hastur and Shub-Niggurath, and a possible formula of immortality. Sanity loss 1D6/2D6; Cthulhu Mythos +10 %; 40 weeks to study. THE BLACK TOME - in Latin, by Alsophocus of Erongill, trans. unknown, c. 200 AD. Includes the secret of the Shining Trapezohedron and the call of Cthulhu. Sanity loss 1D6/2D6; Cthulhu Mythos +10 %; 37 weeks to study. CONFESSIONS OF THE MAD MONK CLITHANUS In Latin, by Clithanus, c. 400 AD. Contains formulas for calling a Cthulhu-spawn, sending it back, and protecting against its wrath. Also relates how Slavonic priests imprisoned a large number of spawns. Sanity loss 1D6/2D6; Cthulhu Mythos +9 %; 29 weeks to study. DAEMONOLORUM - in Latin, author unknown, c. 200 AD. Account of an Egyptian sect which believed its gods could take on human form. Sanity loss 1D4/1D8; Cthulhu Mythos +8 %; 28 weeks to study. REFLECTIONS In Arabic, by scholar Ibn Shacabao. Conversations with the Jinn (Old Ones). Cited twice in the Al Azif! Sanity loss 1D4/1D8; Cthulhu Mythos +8 %; 27 weeks to study. TESTAMENT OF CARNAMAGOS in Greek, trans. by anonymous monk, c. 935 AD. Presumed original author: Carnamagos, Cimmerian oracle. Testament of events past and future, and an invocation to Quachil Uttaus. The book purportedly distorts the readers passing of time. Sanity loss 1D3/1D6; Cthulhu Mythos +6 %; 23 weeks to study. SONG OF YSTE in Greek, trans. by the Dirka magicians. Amongst other things, discusses the adumbrali entities. Sanity loss 1D3/1D6; Cthulhu Mythos +5 %; 11 weeks to study. CABALA OF SABOTH in Hebrew, author or authors unknown, c. 100 BC. Esoteric book of angel lore. Sanity loss 1D3/1D6; Cthulhu Mythos +3 %; 16 weeks to study. HIERN AIGPTON - in Greek, author unknown (Ieron of Egypt?), c. 200 AD. Scrolls describing the fearsome rites of the Dark Folk; there is also mention of the Dark Pharao Nephren-Ka and of prodigious ruins where the Sun rises. Sanity loss 1/1D3; Cthulhu Mythos +2 %; 6 weeks to study. TUSCAN RITUALS - in Latin, author unknown. Rites of the Great Old One Summamus. Sanity loss 1/1D3; Cthulhu Mythos +2 %; 3 weeks to study. PRAESIDIA FINIUM in Latin, by Lollius Urbicus, 183 AD. Parchment rolls relating the mysterious events that took place during the Roman occupation of Britain, incl. the killing of a faceless winged being (over 50 soldiers lost their lives too). Sanity Loss 1/1D2; Cthulhu Mythos +1 %; 2 weeks to study. KITAB AL-KIMYA in Arabic, by Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan (c. 750-803), also known in the Occident as Geber. One of Gebers 22 monumental treatises of alchemy, the book of alchemy. Remarkable gibberish style. No Sanity loss; Occult +3 %; no spells. BEATUS METHODIVO in Latin, attributed to St. Methodius of Olympus, c. 300 AD. Relatively short prophetic apocalypse. No Sanity loss; Occult +2 %; no spells.

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert

11

Cthulhu Dark Ages 1.77

Stphane Gesbert

TABULA SMARAGDINA - Aramaic or Greek original, author unknown, c. 200 AD. The Emerald Tablet is part of the Corpus Hermeticum, the central alchemical text for medieval Europe. Attributed to Hermes the Great III. No Sanity loss; Occult +1 %; no spells. SIBYLLINE BOOKS - in Latin, author unknown. Compilation of prophecies of the Cumaean sibyl Amalthaea, who offered these books for sale to Tarquinius Superbus, last of the seven kings of Rome. The sibyl burned the first six books after he refused to pay her price. The last three disappeared in a fire in 83 BC. No Sanity loss; Occult +1 %; no spells. CANON EPISCOPI in Latin, by Reginon of Prum, archbishop of Treves. Part of a guide of ecclesiastic discipline intended for bishops. The Canon mentions flying women, witch cults, and witchcraft. Will be used in later centuries by the Inquisitors to justify their merciless witch-hunts. No Sanity loss; Occult +1%; no spells.

Copyright 1997-2001, 2002 S. Gesbert